July 3, 2003
Mr. Svend Robinson, M.P.
4453 Hastings Street
Burnaby, British Columbia
Dear Mr. Robinson:
Thank you for your letters of May 15 and 21, 2003 (file JW03-10488), regarding the aluminum smelter and hydroelectric project – “Alumysa” in Chile. I am also replying on behalf of my colleague, the Honourable Bill Graham.
The Canadian government has no involvement in this commercial project, which is subject to Chilean law. I understand that the project is currently undergoing a thorough environmental review, including extensive public consultations.
The Canadian government expects Canadian companies operating abroad to uphold local laws and to reflect our commitments and values relating to human rights, the environment and labour standards. We also expect Canadian companies to operate in a transparent manner and in full consultation with the host government and the local community in which they are conducting explorations and production activity. We encourage companies to incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility principles such as those found in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the Global Compact into their operations. Responsible mining investment abroad is good for host developing economies and good for Canada.
Should Noranda approach Export Development Canada (EDC) for financial assistance, its support would be conditional on a thorough process of due diligence, including a full environmental review. EDC’s Environmental Review Directive, a legal requirement as of December 21, 2001, and the product of extensive public consultations, establishes the objective and systematic processes EDC must follow in conducting environmental reviews of projects in respect of which EDC is providing financing or finance-related insurance support. The Directive also indicates international good practices, standards and guidelines against which EDC will benchmark the design of proposed projects in order to determine whether they are acceptable from an environmental perspective.
Thank you again for your interest in the Alumysa project in Chile.
Pierre S. Pettigrew
c.c. the Honourable Bill Graham, P.C., M.P.